Amtrak NEC Inland, Springfield Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield Route

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F-line to Dudley via Park
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Re: NEC Inland Route

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:23 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:
jonnhrr wrote:And apparently MA hasn't heard of open road tolling as NH and ME already have at several interchanges. They are really behind the times.
Not to drag us off topic, but MA certainly has heard of ORT, and it is coming soon. It is in place already on the Tobin Bridge (but the transition will not happen until the state completes testing), and both the Turnpike and the harbor tunnels should have it by the end of 2015.
The point remains, though...that's not going to do a hell of a lot for the traffic that makes going to Hartford or Springfield such a crapshoot. ORT should de-gunk things at Route 128 and in Allston after they straighten that interchange, but the miles of backups at I-84 are less because of the toll wait than because of all the trucks that have to slow to 15 MPH on the ramps. Springfield is bad because I-291 is an abomination of an interchange with the traffic lights backing up traffic straight through the tolls onto the highway. And the 495 exit has such crush-load volumes an accident on either road within 3 miles of the interchange borks that one bigtime. Honestly, I think the freight intermodal projects on CSX and Pan Am are going to do more good for the Pike than any changes to the road itself because it's the endless parade of big rigs going through the Berkshires and Worcester Hills that are the biggest culprits behind the road congestion. It's not a Greater Boston phenomenon...it's 495-and-west. The truck volumes in Metro Boston have declined a lot since Beacon Park closed...you notice it a lot these days at the tolls, at the rest areas, and on the lower quadrant of Route 128 where traffic is flowing pretty smoothly despite a lot of lane narrowing in Needham and Dedham for all the bridge construction. There's not nearly as much diesel fumes being belched and hazard lights flashing taking the curve of an onramp. The Pike has heavier truck traffic on it west of 495 than I-95 has anywhere east of New Haven. Every truckload that gets diverted to rail or diverted from a long trucking trip to a short (and off-peak hours) trip helps a lot when it's those down-shifting behemoths clogging up the ramps and rendering the right lane useless through the hills. ORT is long overdue in this state, but it's only going to have dramatic effects in and around the city. I don't think barring a major reconfiguration to some of those problem interchanges out west or a kajillion-dollar add-a-lane project between 84 and 291 that the rest of the state is going to feel like their time spent on the Pike has changed much at all.


The point re: the Inlands is there's a competitive market for a transit mode that has schedule certainty. You will win on travel time to Springfield or Hartford most days of the week on a bus, but you absolutely can't wager on that on any given day, so planning your life around a Boston-Worcester-Springfield or Boston-Worcester-Bradley/Hartford bus is almost futile. A train that reliably runs on time 14 times out of 15 is a big frickin' deal for this corridor. And it doesn't have to be foamer-land speed...just reliably on-time, especially New Haven-Springfield and Worcester-Boston amid all the MBTA congestion.

twropr
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Amtrak Springfield Line Shuttle/Regional/Greenfield/Inland

Post by twropr » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:00 am

Since the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield website is now showing that "realignment of existing Track One (to) straighten out track curves to achieve higher speeds" at North Haven, Wallingford and Hartford with construction date of "Spring 2014", I thought it would be good to start a new topic, so that actual progress by observers can be reported.
The CT plan also calls for grading of the roadbed to support the restoration of TK 2 between Cedar and ?Hart, and for construction of new stations at Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford.

Andy
Jacksonville, FL

Admin note:

Vermonter discussed here: Amtrak Vermonter (Montreal Greenfield Boston CT River Line)

Pan Am Connecticut River line discussed here: Connecticut River Line (Pan Am)

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shadyjay
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by shadyjay » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:01 pm

There is a website... http://nhhsrail.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; which posts some pics, so far its just been of the cable installation.

Berlin and Meriden will be getting new platforms and "up and overs", while Wallingford will be a completely new station to the north.

These upgrades are all long overdue and I feel that the service will be well patronized. Still I don't know why Amtrak just won't drop the shuttle trains when this service begins. ConnDOT already subsidizes the short 62-mile run, but if a NB mainline regional is running late, it's connecting shuttle at NHV is delayed as well. Right there are two reasons why the shuttles should just be dropped completely. But that's just me. And we still have 2+ years to go before service begins, so things COULD change.

The EGE
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by The EGE » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:29 pm

CDOT needs to through-ticket with Amtrak if the Shuttles are to be integrated into NHHS service. There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to buy a single ticket from, say, New York Penn to Berlin, with a change from Amtrak to NHHS at New Haven.

MattW
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by MattW » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:41 pm

The EGE wrote:CDOT needs to through-ticket with Amtrak if the Shuttles are to be integrated into NHHS service. There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to buy a single ticket from, say, New York Penn to Berlin, with a change from Amtrak to NHHS at New Haven.
Frankly there is no reason that you shouldn't be able to buy a single ticket from, say Salem, MA to Avondale Estates, GA on MBTA, Amtrak, Amtrak, and MARTA, but that's a discussion for another thread. But I find it an example of the sad state of current affairs that the best we hope for is through-ticketing between two services that already parallel each other.

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shadyjay
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by shadyjay » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:15 pm

The EGE wrote:CDOT needs to through-ticket with Amtrak if the Shuttles are to be integrated into NHHS service. There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to buy a single ticket from, say, New York Penn to Berlin, with a change from Amtrak to NHHS at New Haven.
Guess it'll all come down to who will be the contract operator for the service. If Amtrak is to run it, I can see through ticketing. Just look at how SLE monthly passholders can ride certain Amtrak trains between NLC and NHV. But another operator of the service may not cooperate with the cross-honoring. If that happens, all the more reason to make the two services separate.

ThirdRail7
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by ThirdRail7 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:05 pm

shadyjay wrote:There is a website... http://nhhsrail.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; which posts some pics, so far its just been of the cable installation.

The ticketing and operating provider conversation aside, I understand cable installation is the first step towards new signals and grade crossing equipment for the territory. Additionally, they had to relocate existing fiber optic lines along the right of way.
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BM6569
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by BM6569 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:14 pm

twropr wrote:Since the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield website is now showing that "realignment of existing Track One (to) straighten out track curves to achieve higher speeds" at North Haven, Wallingford and Hartford with construction date of "Spring 2014", I thought it would be good to start a new topic, so that actual progress by observers can be reported.
The CT plan also calls for grading of the roadbed to support the restoration of TK 2 between Cedar and ?Hart, and for construction of new stations at Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford.

Andy
Jacksonville, FL
The realignment would keep space for a future track 2, right?

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BandA
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by BandA » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:48 am

I never realized how much was involved with signal installation.

CHTT1
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by CHTT1 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:58 am

I would think the increased commuter service would mean the end of the shuttles. Amtrak would continue to run the Vermonter and perhaps two or so regionals that would run through to Boston via the Inland Route. Through ticketing between Amtrak and the commuter line would be a necessity. Through ticketing with other commuter services around the nation is something that should be implemented. At one time, this would be pretty complicated, but with today's computerized tickets, it shouldn't be that hard.
I don't see through ticketing with heavy rail/light rail urban routes, however, due to the complexity with the various ticketing procedures which are basically unique to each urban system.

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shadyjay
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by shadyjay » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:37 am

BM6569 wrote:The realignment would keep space for a future track 2, right?
Yes, Track 2 will be going back in, I believe from North Haven to south of Hartford and from north of Hartford to Windsor, and eventually to Enfield. But for now I'm pretty sure the Hartford Viaduct and Conn River Bridge will remain single track.

dowlingm
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by dowlingm » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:50 pm

shadyjay wrote:
The EGE wrote:CDOT needs to through-ticket with Amtrak if the Shuttles are to be integrated into NHHS service. There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to buy a single ticket from, say, New York Penn to Berlin, with a change from Amtrak to NHHS at New Haven.
Guess it'll all come down to who will be the contract operator for the service. If Amtrak is to run it, I can see through ticketing. Just look at how SLE monthly passholders can ride certain Amtrak trains between NLC and NHV. But another operator of the service may not cooperate with the cross-honoring.
the decision should be ConnDOT's and a condition of operator contract - no ifs ands or buts. VIA Rail have been pushing intermodal for the last few years, though its engine seems to be freaked out by a 3 agency ride (say Pickering GO to McMasterville AMT via Oshawa-Montreal Central VIA)

theozno
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by theozno » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:08 pm

I can't wait for the faster speeds especially to and from Vermont. I doubt we will ever have Dual mode locomotives for Overhead wire to Diesel to get rid of the changeover in new haven.
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Jehochman
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by Jehochman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:06 am

There's a lot of construction along the right of way. Last night I saw segments of new track stacked up. There's been drainage work, fences, retaining walls and all the busway construction. Most of the signal cable appears to be done, at least south of Hartford.

gprimr1
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Re: Springfield Line Upgrade in CT

Post by gprimr1 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:52 am

Why discontinue the shuttles? Make the shuttles a limited stop alternative to the commuter rail. People will usually pay more to get their faster.
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